Last updated on November 22, 2014
Cutting the cable can be one of the most gratifying decisions consumers can make. As many as 251,000 pay-television subscribers in the US made that decision last year. This post outlines MY solution and system for cutting the cable without missing out on quality entertainment. I include over 100 links and resources, including direct links to watch the most popular TV shows free online. You might want to bookmark this post for future reference.
I’ve been in a tug and war contest with my wife on cutting the cable for months. I cancelled our Comcast cable months ago only to give in a little, settling on a basic cable package. At a glance it might look like I caved in but, no worries, I’m a master at influence and soon we’ll cut the cable again and my wife will think it was her idea. [insert evil laugh].
My solution but not the only solution
As I mentioned, this is my solution and there are other alternatives so find what works best for you. For example, I’m subscribed to Netflix but there are other streaming services such as Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime/Amazon Instant Video. I use Android while others might like iOS, BlackBerry, or Windows. I use Google Chromecast
Watching TV without cable
I have a long list of fantastic shows I watch and, thanks to this fall’s latest lineup, it’s becoming quite the challenge to keep up. We no longer have a DVR since that was returned when I cut our Comcast cable the first time. Many of my shows overlap so I have to learn to adapt. I certainly don’t want to get another DVR and set us spiraling back into cable dependency. Here’s how I cope:
Watching TV Streamed from your computer or mobile device
We have a smart TV in the livingroom but, even if you don’t, you don’t need one to watch your favorite TV shows on your computer, tablet, or phone. Grab yourself a cheap (about $35) Google Chromecast
I have Chromecast on all of my computers, cell phones and tablets. I have an old Galaxy S3 left over from my latest upgrade to a S5. I call that old S3, “My multimedia phone“. You don’t have to have a separate device like that, I just have another year of the contract so… why not, right? Anyway, I stream from any device but usually from my old S3 straight to our TV. The visual and sound quality are as good as the old DVR we had, in my opinion.
Google Cast Ready Apps: Chrome/Google Cast has a pretty cool resource page that lists Google Cast Ready apps for TV & Movies, Music & Audio, Games, Sports, Photos & Video, and more. Check it out here.
Network series from the source
On Mondays I have to watch The Originals, which is on The CW at 8pm my time. At 9pm I switch to CBS to watch Scorpion. The problem is, I want to watch Gotham, which also comes on at 8pm, but on Fox. My wife wants to watch 2 Broke Girls, which is on CBS at 8pm as well. This is only monday, so things complicate further as the week grows.
I won’t bore you with the details but I will list my favorite TV shows, among others, with links to the network page that streams it for you free of charge. You can find dozens of those links below.
Bookmark the major networks
Watch your favorite TV series, news, movies, specials, events by bookmarking the major network websites. You can even watch live in many cases.
Other Network links of interest:
Now I’ll move on to the shows and the networks that stream them free for you. I tried to list what I believe are some of the most popular shows that have the latest full episode available, separated by network. Each show has a direct link to that specific page.
(★) My favorite shows that I try to never miss.
(✓) Shows I like but won’t get upset if I miss.
Popular shows on ABC
- America’s Funniest Home Videos
- Dancing with the Stars
- Good Morning America
- Grey’s Anatomy
- ✓ Jimmy Kimmel Live
- Last Man Standing
- ★ Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- ✓ Modern Family
- Once Upon a Time
- ✓ Shark Tank
- This Week with George Stephanopoulos
- The Chew
- The Goldbergs
- The Middle
- The Quest
- The View
- World News Tonight weekends
Popular shows on The CW
- ★ Arrow
- Jane The Virgin
- ★ The 100
- ★ The Flash
- ★ The Originals
- ★ The Vampire Diaries
- ✓ Reign
- ★ Star-Crossed
- ✓ Supernatural
Popular shows on Fox
- ✓ Bones
- Family Guy
- ★ Gotham
- Hell’s Kitchen
- Hotel Hell
- Kitchen Nightmares
- Sleepy Hollow
- So You Think You Can Dance
- The Following
- The Mindy Project
- The Simpsons
- Utopia (Scrubbed)
Popular shows on CBS
- ✓2 Broke Girls
- 48 Hours
- 60 Minutes
- ★ The Big Bang Theory
- Big Brother
- Blue Bloods
- CBS News Live
- ✓ CSI
- CSI Miami
- ✓ Criminal Minds
- ✓ Elementary
- Late Show With David Letterman
- ✓ The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
- The Millers
- ★ Two and a Half Men
- ★ Scorpion
- ★ Under The Dome
- ✓ Under Cover Boss
CBS shows that don’t seem to offer full episodes
Popular shows on NBC
- Bad Judge (Scrubbed)
- ✓ Jay Leno’s Garage
- Late Night: Seth Meyers
- ✓ Law & Order: SVU
- Marry Me
- Saturday Night Live
- The Biggest Loser
- The Blacklist
- The Voice
- Tonight Show: Jimmy Fallon
Paid On-Demand Movies
Every now and then we want to watch a movie at home without renting a DVD or Blu Ray. There are several resources that allow you to rent or buy movies on-demand. I’ve rented several movies on YouTube. Of course I recommend you make certain you don’t have free access (or already paid such as Netflix) before renting or buying online. I’ve found Can I Stream.It very handy for finding the right resource.
For example, you can see from the screenshot below, if I wanted to watch The Boondock Saints II, Can I Stream.It shows me where to rent or purchase it. I’ve rented movies on YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and Vudu.
Android smartphone apps
I use Android for my smartphone of choice so I’ve listed a few apps to help your entertainment enjoyment whether you’ve cut the cable or not.
Android apps that enhance your digital pleasure
Music apps I Use
Misc entertainment apps I use
I hope this resource guide helps you decide if cutting the cable s a good idea but I believe the fact that most cable content we consume is now available on demand (we watch what we want, when we want it) is even more powerful an argument than the cost savings.
Do you pay for cable? Is your cable bundled into your internet and/or phone service? How much would you save if you canceled your cable, increased your internet speed, and picked just one digital streaming media service like Netflix vs. Hulu Plus vs. Amazon Prime? Is it worth learning a new solution? Have you already cut the cable? I’d love your comments, stories, suggestions or questions in the comment section below.
Brian D. Hawkins is a late-blooming thought leader in his mind. So please don't disturb his happy thoughts. It's all he has.
Brian D. Hawkins has been a blogger for over twenty years, having written thousands of public articles on dozens of websites. He currently blogs for NextStepSurvival.com and his personal blog at TheOpinionBlog.com.
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Please and Thank You.
I will try to make this short.
I have found current movies streaming online.
I have found many sports streaming online as well including WWE Network, NBCSN, ESPN.
You tube does have free movies as well.
You have to use more than 1 search engine when looking for programs and shows, movies and watch how you word your words when searching it can come up with either the same of different results.
As for antennas! You can use a regular rabbit ears or outdoor antenna.
You just have to know the elevation on where you are at.
You could look for an amplified antenna for indoors.
Antennaweb.com and the FCC has information as to what TV stations you are to be able to pick up.
ISP! I found that clear/clearwire has ISP service for $50.00 a month.
The streaming is clear and downloading is fast!!!!
Thanks Mark, a good antenna can be challenge too. I bought an indoor antenna for around $35 and it was terrible. It was a flat square design by RCA and wouldn’t hold a picture for more than a few minutes on a couple of our main local channels. I even went out and bought an RCA amplifier that is designed for that same antenna and it actually made it worse.
I went out into the garage and dug out our very old rabbit ears and, with an adaptor, get more channels than I even knew were available. This thing is so old it doesn’t even have a name on it but it is amazing. I told my family to never pass up an old set of TV rabbit ear antennas they see at yard sales.
I found a Zenith amp.antenna works better than the others.
Although! You will have to move it around to get the best reception.
Or just wait for after a rainstorm! Then! the nighttime signals do bounce around much better!
When there was this conversion to HD.
I used a radio shack analog antenna.
Connected it to my HD converter box.
Then did the same when I got my HD TV.
The interesting thing is.
I found is when I raised the antenna.
I got more channels.
The local ones came in clear.
But I found that both weather and atmospheric conditions do play with HD reception.
HD was promoted as not to be affected by those conditions.
During the summer. I got those extra channels to be more stable than in regular conditions.
I did buy into the hype about: “You need an HD antenna!”
I found out that is not the case.
Sidenote:I live in a basement apt..
And I tried to get the local channels in. But could not until one day!
I had my antenna as high as I could get it.
Then! It fell down to the floor.
I got all the local channels.
Bent antenna and all.
There only type of antenna I would use is an amp. antenna with rabbit ears. I can move the rods in any position I want.
There is a site called http://www.vumoo.me.
I have watched “I am Ali”,
It’s a long story about how to watch movies online but this 1 is free to watch.
Thanks Mark, that’s some great insight you’re sharing. Thank you for that. 🙂
I once knew a ham radio operator. He told me that where I live. The city is like a bowl. Because of the high elevations and low. When it comes to over the air broadcasts. You may find that if you use an indoor rabbit ears antenna. To move it around. Another drawback is.
Weather and atmospheric conditions can into play. But that does not happen as much as when we had analog.
There websites where I can also find sports of every kind/type. I can watch cricket, handball from another country (Not the handball we know!). PPV events, classic movies home shopping from other countries so on.